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Micro-blogging at Work May 30, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I’ve been on Twitter for over a year, and I find great value in the ability to ask questions to a large group of people (ex. friends, peers, etc.) when I need to find information. I often get excellent answers and suggestions that have much more value than a Google search would have yielded. I also enjoy the ability to share helpful resources that I find, and I do my best to answer questions that other people have. It only makes sense that organizations are starting to bring the same concept of Twitter (micro-blogging) in-house to improve communication between employees.

What is micro-blogging?

Micro-blogging is the process of sending short text updates that describe what you’re doing and/or thinking to a web site or web application. The messages are available to whomever has subscribed to view your messages. There are many micro-blogging platforms (see below) that allow you to easily track messages from your friends and peers, and they also make it easy to search for messages that were previously posted. All of the information is saved and it can be searched. Read a more detailed definition of micro-blogging.

How can micro-blogging be beneficial at work?

Here are a few examples of how micro-blogging can be beneficial at work. Micro-blogging can be used to:

  • Ask questions
  • Share project updates
  • Make organization-wide announcements (for non-critical information)
  • Build a community (ex. have new employees communicate with each other and share their experiences)
  • Promote a culture of information sharing

We’re in the early stages of a micro-blogging trial at work. I can’t say much about it, but I am very pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I’m seeing employees making connections with co-workers in different divisions, and I’m seeing employees provide each other with assistance on a regular basis. While I can’t articulate a rock-solid business case for micro-blogging, this behavior screams success to me.

Selecting a micro-blogging platform

If you are concerned about your employees sharing confidential or proprietary information, you will probably want to be very careful when selecting a micro-blogging platform. You can use an internally-hosted micro-blogging platform, or you can consider using a solution hosted by a vendor. Some of the most popular platforms are:

Involve the right people

When considering micro-blogging at your organization, you’ll need to make sure to involve the right people. I highly recommend you bring in people from the following departments. Help them understand micro-blogging and why you’re interested in using it:

  • Corporate Communications
  • HR
  • IT
  • Legal

Run a pilot program

Consider running a pilot program, where you use micro-blogging for a small group of users (perhaps the training department?). This will let you get a feel for how the concept works, and you should be able to figure out its potential pretty quickly. (I would also recommend that you jump on Twitter, just to get a quick understanding of how micro-blogging works.)

Good luck, and please leave a comment below if you have experience using micro-blogging at work. I’d love to hear how it is going.

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Comments»

1. Uche - May 30, 2009

Nice piece -
I just started with Twitter about a month ago and have totally changed my view of social networking. I was abit slow to these phenomenon, but now embrace it like hell.

We should also try out your suggestion at work too.
Lovely blog BTW :)

2. links for 2009-06-02 | eLearning 3.0 - June 2, 2009

[...] Micro-blogging at Work | eLearning Weekly – What is micro-blogging? – How can micro-blogging be beneficial at work? – Selecting a micro-blogging platform – Involve the right people – Run a pilot program (tags: eLearning MicroBlogging Twitter Social SocialNetwork) [...]

3. Rich Hoeg - June 9, 2009

Would love to know if folks know about formal academic research around the topic of micro-blogging inside the organization (i.e. as opposed to Twitter … using tools like Yammer or Laconica)

4. B.J. Schone - June 9, 2009

Hi Rich,

This is such a new area – I’d be surprised if much formal academic research has been done. My guess is that you’ll start to see research emerge in the next 3 – 6 months. However, if anybody can recommend any resources, please do!

5. Letture - Vocescuola - June 9, 2009

[...] Does Google Wave Mean the End of the LMS? Micro-blogging at Work [...]

Eric Bruner - June 10, 2009

Not sure about the end of the LMS and other such true infrastructure elements that serve regulatory, reporting, and other metric-based purposes, but it certainly could be a framework for many of the social media elements taking hold in the corporate world.

6. Scott Hewitt - August 17, 2009

I’ve not read many posts about using micro-blogging in a work environment so this made for interesting reading. I would imagine that when combined with a mobile device and a closed network then this would offer real value to large organisations.

I know that when I use twitter on my iPhone the most valuable element is getting a whole set of ‘updates’ in one hit. The use of it within a closed network is very interesting and opens up some learning possibilities.

7. hanum - October 13, 2009

nice experiences sharing. Some companies discourage their employees from using social networks at work, fearing lost productivity and wasted time. But the purpose of this network is all business, and the ambitions for it are grand. This is powerful stuff. Social networks improve the ability of people to do their work ^_^

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